Tag: Painting

Do they know it’s not Christmas yet?

While I was looking for some reference materials, I came across two German (and sort of Dutch) Nativity scenes by Derick Baegert and Jan Joest van Kalkar. Both scenes were painted late 15th, early 16th century. Here are some of the other Nativities I’ve already posted in earlier posts. They all look very similar. It’s obvious copyright wasn’t an issue in the middle ages.

I wonder why these paintings inspired by other ones are often mirrored. Is it on purpose or is it a result of a copying process?

Nativity by Baegert
Columba altarpiece by Rogier van der Weyden for reference
Prado Nativity by Memling, for reference purposes
Nativity by Jan Joest
The Magi by Hugo van der Goes

And it Goes on

Passed the Mot today, hurray. That leaves only taxes as the last annoying thing to take care of before July.

Back to business. I have more or less wrapped up my Rolin research but a couple small things can be added. Above is another, older picture of what is supposed to be cardinal Rolin I came across. Not much likeness, except the pose, the red cloak and the little white dog sitting on it. Given the time difference between both paintings, it can’t be the same dog.

When I was looking through some books regarding something else, I came across a couple van der Goes in a book about tombs in churches in Mechelen. The family seems to have links with the Netherlands. There is not much known about Hugo’s family and he was originally from Gent. Could be wrong but there seems to be some sort of link between the Gent and the Mechelen family. There are also de Goes/Gois in Leuven but they go back to a Portuguese family. Anyway, I haven’t spent much time on this. It falls under the category Trivia.

Jean & the Master of Moulins

The arms of Jean VI Rolin. Ms 116, Autun

I know I said I was done with Hugo van der Goes, but here is one last addition.

The past couple days I have been compiling the results of the research I have done on the Jouster (see earlier post). Most of his biography is fairly clear, except the question whether or not he won the tournament in Valenciennes. First guess would be not, given his background but that’s not what I want to write about today.

I have some additional documentation on him that was on loose photocopies and papers inside an issue of an old 1900s magazine – L’Art Flamand Hollandais – about the French Primitives. The illustrations in the magazine are in black and white and sometimes that way you notice things that you wouldn’t otherwise. This is the case with a picture that is also on the internet page about Jean Hey but in colour.

The picture is a painting of Mary Magdalene by the Master of Moulins, aka Jean Hey (see earlier post).

When I saw this I was immediately reminded of two paintings.

One of them was the part with Etienne Chevalier and St Steven on the Melun dyptich by Jean Fouquet around 1450, because of the stance of the characters:

The second part of that dyptich is the famous Madonna/Agnes Sorel. I’ve always found the Madonna an odd and interesting but not necessarily beautiful painting. The red angels look pretty demonic.

But the first thing that came to mind was the Monforte painting by Hugo van der Goes:

Now if we mirror Mary Magdalene and put her next to the boys in the back:

Jean Hey is said to have been influenced by Hugo or even have been his pupil. Your guess is as good as mine.

But this is only half of it. Some art work done for Jean VI has been attributed to a collaborator or a follower of Jean Bourdichon, one of the top illuminators who was active during the second half 15th century- first quarter of the 16th. The magazine states Bourdichon is close to the Master of Moulins but not in what sense. I haven’t yet looked into the truth of this statement but in any case, the illustration accompanying this claim is a painting of the dauphin, attributed to Jean Bourdichon, which is now attributed to Jean Hay, according to Wikipedia. Another interesting fact is that Jean Bourdichon was a pupil of Jean Fouquet. I’m beginning to see all kind of interesting links forming.

Other work for Jean VI was done by an artist influenced by the master of the chronique scandaleuse (a chronicle about Louis XI). I haven’t looked into possible ties with the artists mentioned before. It’s definitely worth spending more research time on this.

Red and/or dead

My mind is currently a fuzzy cobweb of dark thoughts, irritation and frustration. I’ll try to create some order in my chaos, though. (Bound to fail).

Still going through the books I borrowed from the library, two of them for the second time as I had used them before. There is always something new to discover. The book about Hugo, which I borrowed for the first time, has a number of versions of the Lamentation, including a good and large picture of the Oxford fragment. The theory about the identity of the people depicted is not mentioned, though (see earlier post about the identity of John).

One of the miniatures I came across during research about the links between painters and miniaturists was the miniature below, one by the Maitre de la chronique scandaleuse. The chronique is a medieval chronicle about Louis XI, king of France and it was copied for a member of Dammartin family, according to the BnF’s info. This version includes a number of illustrations by an anonymous miniaturist. The miniatures date from somewhere end of 15th, beginning 16th century. Miniaturists were mostly not known by name and often worked in a team in ateliers so it’s often hard to identify them and attribute works to them with 100% certainty.

The miniature depicts Rene of Lorraine holding the hand of the corpse of Charles the Bold when he was lying in state after the Battle of Nancy. The miniature is not very realistic because there wasn’t much left of the Bold’s face when he was found in the ice. Also the wake was a gloomy affair with a lot of black velvet, instead of all the bright colours shown here. I am not even mentioning perspective. But the historical correctness is not of an issue here. The artist of the above miniature may be connected to the tournament guy I’m researching. Unfortunately, I can’t find a lot of clear pictures of his work online, but it’s virtually impossible to see these miniatures in real in normal times, let alone in covid times. Something on hold right now.

I want to try and figure out if there is a connection between the tournament guy and the Duchy of Brabant, and/or County of Flanders. The tournament guy is also connected to Charles the Bold, but I don’t know much about it yet, there is not a lot to go on. With Covid this is also a bit on hold.

There are a couple intriguing details about Hugo van der Goes I want to look into the coming days. He lived in Gent and worked for the duke and the duchess but after Charles the Bold was killed in Nancy in 1477 he suddenly left Gent to become a lay brother at the Rood Klooster near Brussels, in 1477 or 1478 depending on the source. One of the explanations I came across was that he was afraid of the political repercussions after the death of the duke. In any case, Hugo suffered from melancholy (as was said of Charles the Bold) and had the feeling he was doomed. There is also the rumour of a broken heart. Karel van Mander writes about it in his famous “Schilderboeck”.

Daer is oock van Hughe een bysonder goet stuck, dat noch van alle Constenaers en Const-verstandighe niet vergheefs seer ghepresen is. Dit is te Ghent in een huys dat omwatert is, by het Muyde brughsken, te weten, het huys van Iacob Weytens, en is gedaen voor een schouwe oft schoorsteen op den muer van Oly-verwe, wesende d’historie van David en Abigail, daer sy hem te ghemoet comt. Hier is bysonder te verwonderen, wat een groote zedicheyt als in dese Vroukens te sien is, en wat een eerbaer soet wesen, welcker zedicheyt soo manierlijc is aen te sien, dat de Schilders van desen tijdt wel haer Vroukens daer mochten te schole seynden, op dat syse hen mochten af leeren: voort den David sit oock seer statelijck te Peerde: summa, t’werck is van teyckeninghe, inventie, actien, en affecten, alles uytnemende: want hier oock het affect der Liefden (so men seght) mede in gewrocht, en Cupido de Pinceelen heeft helpen stieren, in geselschap van zijn Moeder en de Gratien: want Huge noch vry geselle wesende, daer ten huyse vrijdde de dochter, daer hy seer op verlieft was, de welcke hy in’t stuck oock heeft nae t’leven ghedaen.”

When Hugo died he was probably about the same age as Charles the Bold. I am not sure of the cause of his death. I checked what Karel van Mander has to say about his death in his Schilderboeck but he just writes he doesn’t know where or when Hugo was buried (he was buried in the grounds of the monastery, nb).

To be continued.

Men in tights and dead virgins

Study of a Memling. I gave up on the shirt.

The past couple days I’ve had a pretty bad migraine, not sure where it came from. Not Covid-related, I guess as I haven’t been to many places. In any case, I was very, very tired for some reason, and reading, let alone painting was not going well so I have wasted two days. On the plus side, I thought I’d be dead by Covid by now. Don’t want to moan, though.

I have not yet gone through the 7 volumes trying to find the trial I referred to in last post. I did leaf through the art books I borrowed from the library to see where I’d start first. The book about van der Weyden still contained a page with the notes I made last year on the copy of Charles the Bold I’m painting. Guess nobody borrowed the book since then or didn’t bother to remove the page. In the book of Hugo van der Goes there is a good overview of the paintings I discussed in an earlier post. There was also a photocopy stuck between the pages with the painting of the Death of the Virgin. I have never borrowed this book before so this copy was not mine. Sometimes little things like this, the scribblings in the margins so to speak, lead me much further than anything else. So I guess I need to keep this in mind and see if there is something interesting to dig up.

Today I spent most of the day going through a book/article by someone called Abolala Soudavar who wrote about a number of paintings of the Burgundian era and their double layers. One of those paintings is the Medici Virgin I am trying to find out more about, but also about other paintings that have something to do with the Dukes of Burgundy, such as the Lamentation (see earlier post) and the Medici fresco with the Magi. As a side note, Charles the Bold’s crypto portraits seem to end up in many paintings about the Magi, worth to look into this. A.S. refers to the book about Hugo van der Goes I borrowed so that’s handy.

I don’t have anything else or interesting to write about today. I have limited my daily intake of cat videos and have been watching the Stay at Home museum by VisitFlanders on YouTube (watched van Eyck and Bruegel so far and quite enjoyed it.) I also watched Three nuts for Cinderella when my headache was pretty bad and quite enjoyed that too. Rogier is still on the to do list. Plus sword training, though my sword is less than 1.5 metres long so not within social distancing limits. Probably need to take up jousting instead


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